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As quarantine cooking continues to fuel home cooks to feed sourdough starter and roll pasta from scratch, there’s one baked item that reigns supreme: bread. And while many are willing to take the time to laboriously knead dough, sometimes we’re all simply looking for an easy recipe—that’s still going to taste good. 

Related Reading: 5 Tricks for Mastering No-Knead Bread at Home

Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal Kneading, $16.29 on Amazon

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Enter no-knead focaccia, a bread staple that’s just as good as that artisan sourdough boule everyone’s making nonstop. We’re super into this chocolate chunk version, which can be slathered with cream cheese and Nutella, if you’d like, from chef and blogger Emilie Raffa’s “Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.” The book reads like a master guide to baking sourdough at home, but Emilie also provides a few no-knead recipes as well—just in case you’re a little burnt out from all that upper body work. 

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Emilie’s no-knead chocolate focaccia is built out of a basic mix of flour, cocoa powder, honey, and water, then briefly blended by hand until a shaggy dough forms. Chocolate chips are stirred in before it rests overnight. The next morning, the dough is simply lifted into a skillet where it rises for another hour. Your fingers are ushered in to make those cute, distinguishable dimples, then it’s baked in the oven until puffed. Emilie recommends smearing the top with cream cheese, Nutella, and fresh fruit, but it’s also just as excellent served hot on its own.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Emilie Raffa.

No-Knead Chocolate Chunk Focaccia with Cream Cheese and Nutella Recipe

My love for chocolate sourdough runs deep, and I could probably pen and eat a whole book on the subject. Focaccia is no exception. This decadent chocolate focaccia is topped with cream cheese and chocolate hazelnut spread, which melt slowly into the dough once baked. My advice? Tear off a chunk and dunk it into the warm center. For an added bonus, this focaccia is baked in melted butter. 

About the Dough: This dough will feel extremely stiff after mixing due to the cocoa powder. Additional water softens the dough, and once it finishes rising, it will become beautiful and supple. For best results, make sure to thoroughly combine the flour and cocoa powder first, before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will avoid zebra stripes running through your dough.

No-Knead Chocolate Focaccia with Cream Cheese and Nutella

Makes: 1 skillet focaccia
  • 500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (¼ cup) cocoa powder
  • 5 g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 400 g (1⅔ cups) cool water
  • 20 g (1 tbsp) honey
  • 5 g (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
  • 90 g (½ cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus extra as needed
  • 70 g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large dollops of Nutella, or chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 2 large dollops of cream cheese
  • Small handful of raspberries, pomegranate seeds, and strawberries
  • Powdered sugar, to serve
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. MAKE THE DOUGH: In the evening, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the starter, water, honey, and vanilla. Mix to combine, then finish by hand to form a rough and shaggy dough. Cover the bowl and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  3. After the dough has rested, add the chocolate chips to the bowl. Gently knead to incorporate, about 1 minute.
  4. BULK RISE: Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), about 12 to 18 hours.
  5. SECOND RISE: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave. Pour the butter into a 10-inch (25-cm) cast iron skillet and swirl to coat. Cool for a few minutes before adding the dough. Remove the dough into the skillet, and then flip it over to coat both sides in the melted butter. Cover and let rest for about 1 hour or more, until very puffy. The butter may solidify during this stage, depending on the room temperature.
  6. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  7. ASSEMBLE THE FOCACCIA: Gently dimple and stretch the dough to reach the sides of the skillet. Sprinkle with a small handful of extra chocolate chips, pressing them into the dough as you go.
  8. BAKE: Bake the focaccia for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Spread some of the Nutella over the top, and then dollop the center with cream cheese. When ready to serve, top with raspberries, pomegranate seeds, and strawberries. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Enjoy while still warm.

Header image by Emilie Raffa.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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